The future’s bright, the future’s green

DISCLAIMER: All opinions in this column reflect the views of the author(s), not of EURACTIV Media network.

Europe faces some significant challenges, but dismantling the EU is not the answer. [melis/ Shutterstock]

Europe and the wider world face a number of daunting challenges. But there is hope. Monica Frassoni insists that Europe’s greens will play a full part in changing things for the better.

Monica Frassoni is co-chair of the European Green Party and a member of Italy’s Federation of the Greens.

The UK Supreme Court’s decision to allow the Scottish and Welsh governments to intervene in Brexit has thrown another hurdle in the way of Theresa May’s quest for a smooth exit.

Edinburgh and Cardiff can now officially make their separate cases to the court for the right to have a say over the triggering of the Article 50 notice period.

The European Greens are convinced that the place of the UK is in the EU and we want to maintain the closest possible ties with the United Kingdom, in particular with Scotland and Northern Ireland. We regret the decision of a small majority of British voters and the very acrimonious campaign that led to this unwelcome result.

The first months after the referendum showed that many options are possible. Both in the UK and in the EU, we want to contribute to the long and complicated aftermath of the referendum. We want to count in the public debate, because such a meaningful and significant event cannot be negotiated by a few men and women behind closed doors.

We want to count in the national and the European parliaments, which will have to adopt whatever arrangement will be found with the UK and each of its constituent parts.

Greens do not like many of the political choices that EU and national leaders are taking, and we are working hard to make radical change possible. But we are convinced that no disastrous recipes such as exiting the EU, the dismantling of the euro, the rebuilding of walls and borders among us or the expulsion of migrants, represent positive alternatives to European integration.

As the first months after the referendum show, we are too interdependent to find any advantage in undoing everything. And why should we give up on the project of a peaceful, open and diverse society to go back to our small, “homogeneous” homelands, growing more and more globally irrelevant and hostile towards one other?

Instead of dismantling the EU, we have to change it. Our priorities are clear: we have to re-orientate our economic activities and industrial strength towards innovation and sustainability; we have to finally abandon austerity; we have to redirect the anger of impoverished and disappointed voters towards using facts to defeat populist movements which mobilise civil society by trying to convince us that closing borders and hunting migrants would return our countries to some kind of harmonious and mystical Land of Plenty.

From the daily, unacceptable deaths of migrants in the Mediterranean Sea, the on-going growth of poverty and inequality in the EU to the shocking election of Donald Trump, we all know that we are facing difficult times.

Still, there are reasons to hope and mobilise: the defeat of TTIP, the Apple case, the ratification of the Paris Agreement, the public reaction to the abortion law in Poland, the many innovative and green governments in European cities, the increasing support for divesting from fossil fuels and for going energy-efficient and renewable, the resistance against racism and the welcoming of refugees by so many people and communities everywhere.

This all shows that things can still be reverted. And we intend to play a full part in this change. It will be green and European.

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